Senate GOP health bill would cut Medicaid, erase tax increases, reports say

A Democrat jumped into the fray, prompting some on Twitter to question if the whole exchange was a parody despite the very somber issue of health at the heart of the matter. The bill contains multiple, serious deficiencies - but also a few opportunities. Though the bill keeps the hotly debated taxpayer subsidies in place for those who purchase an insurance plan through the Obamacare marketplace, it changes the criteria that determines whether an enrollee is eligible for a subsidy.

Former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican who surprised her party when she made a decision to expand Medicaid four years ago, is urging Congress to save the expansion, which has provided coverage to 400,000 Arizonans. We'll get back to this below.

Photo/Jacquelyn MartinSeveral dozen disabled people were forcibly removed and arrested by police during a protest over the a Senate health care bill outside of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's office on Thursday.

The emerging Senate bill was described by people on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss it publicly.

So when 19 states decided not to expand Medicaid, millions of Americans were left in the coverage gap because they didn't qualify for Medicaid and couldn't afford private insurance.

The plan gets rid of those mandates.

In a separate statement, Olivia Golden, executive director of the Center for Law and Social Policy, said the Medicaid cuts in the Better Care Reconciliation Act would put pressure on state budgets and likely lead to cuts to education budgets. And it would shore up the individual market for the next two years by allocating money for Obamacare cost-sharing subsidies and by creating a fund to help insurers cover high-cost enrollees. It is as if someone asked the Senate to come up with a less generous version of Obamacare.

Obamacare's Medicaid expansion, which added 3.7 million Californians to the rolls of Medi-Cal, would be phased out by 2024. In both cases, Congress announces big cost reductions - but then delays them so that future presidents and lawmakers have the task of either pulling the trigger or coming up with more money.

In his post on Thursday, Obama notably echoed Trump's alleged assertion behind closed doors that the healthcare legislation passed by House Republicans in May was "mean".

Fifth, the premise of this repeal effort was that the exchanges were failing.

"A little negotiation, but it's going to be very good", he told reporters. There is no replacement to compel people to buy coverage. He also says it "hands enormous tax cuts to the rich and to the drug and insurance industries, paid for by cutting health care for everybody else".

Sixth, there is a tremendous opening here for Senate moderates to end this fiasco and try to work with Democrats on a shortlist of reforms.

The swift rejection may be a negotiating ploy, but the public nature of it is a reminder for McConnell of the deep reservations running through his own conference on a proposal that conservatives do not believe goes far enough to repeal Obamacare - and the monumental challenge that lies ahead as he looks for 50 "yes" votes. Medicaid covers some 70 million people, from newborns to elderly nursing home residents.

The Senate bill does provide $62 billion in state grants to lower premiums and out-of-pocket costs for Obamacare enrollees, particularly those who are sick.

  • Larry Hoffman